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October 2020

Watch Zelalem’s wonder goal; Jack is back; Telegraph turns on PGMO, fans turn on TV pundits

By Tony Attwood

Arsenal have agreed to loan Gedion Zelalem to Rangers until January or for the whole season.   With every position in the first team covered not just covered by a back up player but also by players who can play well in more than one position, promising youngsters are going through the academy to learn to play the Arsenal way, and then going on loan, to get serious first team experience.  They are not being held back from loans just to play in the league cup, as used to be the way, because we now have a lot of first team squad members who will want those games.

Zelalem is 18, and played in the reserve match at the Emirates last Friday.

The Daily Record has a video of the goal from the Fulham reserve game and believe me you really should watch this.  Zelalem (who as we earlier reported decided recently to play internationally for the US not Germany) made his debut for Arsenal when 16 in the FA Cup against Coventry City in January 2014 and was in the Champions League squad at Galatasaray last season.

One of the benefits he will have is that he will play in front of large crowds in the Scottish Championship (the second tier) and be part of what is at the moment most certainly a winning team.  Rangers have played four, won four and scored 17 in the league cup and second tier of Scottish football this season.  Over 49,000 turned up for their last home league match, against St Mirren.

Isaac Hayden and Chuba Akpom are at Hull City (the latter playing brilliantly), Danny Crowley at Barnsley, Jon Toral at Birmingham City and Serge Gnabry has gone to West Bromwich Albion.

Meanwhile at Ipswich 17-year-old Ainsley Maitland-Niles is also getting rave reviews.  He was significantly involved in both their goals in their win yesterday which took Ipswich to the top of the Championship in England.  For the first goal it was his pass that put  Brett Pitman through and able to cross for the goal.  And it was his corner that went straight to David McGoldrick for the winner.   Another through pass to Jelle Vossen resulted in Kightly hitting the post.

Meanwhile Jack Wilshere is back in training – so this injury that had the aaa groaning that we were into another long slew of bad luck, has not proved as bad as it was talked up in some quarters.  I can’t imagine he will be rushed back for the Liverpool game, but there is a chance for him to appear after that.

Moving on, the PGMO have shown their true colours once again following the fiasco of the off-side Liverpool goal against Bournemouth.  The refereeing team will be allowed to continue without any prolonged re-education programme away from matches.

This of course is partly due to the fact that PGMO has so few referees and assistants on its books that it can’t afford to remove refs who get things wrong.  But this case is particularly worrying, because it was such an obvious mistake, that for neither the linesman nor the ref even to consider the off-side suggests something is seriously wrong.

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In the scheme of things we drew up a while back, this has all the hallmarks of Type II match fixing – for which the classic modus operandi is “the award of a dubious penalty five minutes from time” to help one particular team win.  (See “Three ways of match fixing” for more details).

Type II match fixing is also known to take advantage of phantom goals – and that is what happened here – letting an early off side goal stand).  Of course I have no proof if this was match fixing or gross incompetence, but it was one or the other, and either is a good enough reason to remove a ref for re-education.   If PGMO had more referees on its books it could remove the team that controlled the Liverpool match for a month of re-training.  That they don’t reflects badly on everyone, and just fuels the suspicions.  Or at least it fuels my suspicions.

So Craig Pawson is taking charge of Man United’s home game against Newcastle United on Saturday and assistant Harry Lennard is linesman in the Sunday game between Everton and Manchester City.  We shall watch their performances with much interest.

The PGMO-supporting press who are forever anxious to nip any suggestion that the running of the game’s refereeing is anything but perfect are already out in force making the excuse that “Referees were only informed of the worldwide amendment a month ago, giving them little time to absorb a highly-nuanced change.”

Therefore some of the press is arguing that they should be given time to settle down, and get to know the rules, but for me this is ludicrous.  We either have properly refereed games or we don’t.  At the moment it seems we don’t because the “refs are getting used to the new rules.”

But in what might be a change of editorial position, the previously utterly pro-PGMO Daily Telegraph says today, “Video evidence would help support that defence”.   That is a slap around the face for PGMO whose bizarre press release on not using videos was published wholesale in the Telegraph shortly after Untold’s reporting of experiments on the continent which showed that video technology could be a huge success.   If the Telegraph were to be moving its position on the PGMO that would be of some significance, as they have been a bastion of PGMO’s defence for some time.

Finally, and moving on, I don’t feel I can end this little piece without a word about Michael Owen who seems to be taking football commentary down to a new level of inanity.  Or rather it is not just Owen that I want to mention but the way some TV watchers are responding to the dross and inept gibberish they are fed day after day.

For years broadcasters have had the attitude that those who watch football on TV are mindless idiots who are quite possibly either too drunk, or too much involved in fornicating on the sofa to notice that they were being fed drivel.   Now some fans are showing that for many, football on TV is an important way of keeping up with matches, and that inanity  we are fed is an utter and total insult.

A number of Owenisms from the match were shown up on Twitter, most particularly, “Memphis Depay – he looks like a footballer,” and ” Fellaini is like mustard,”

In a poll in one paper 24% of readers who voted suggested that Owen is a “disturbing vision of a dystopian future” as opposed to 14% who described him as “a human”.

Of course it is not just Owen – it is the producers and directors who think that having people who are unable to express themselves properly doing TV presentations is a good thing.   Maybe one day they will wake up to the fact that this sort of commentary makes the TV company involved a laughing stock.

But there is some hope.  In this case the TV Company is BT Sport, whose commentators once professed themselves unable to add 3 and 2 together when showing the Emirates Cup.   After a lot of complaints about the way they denigrated both Arsenal and the competition, they suddenly did an about face and started talking up the competition and praising its style and organisation.

Let’s see if they can do this again.  It will all have been a bit of a waste of money for them if they can’t, and the result of their investment in the Champions League is resourceless criticism of BT.

On Twitter @UntoldArsenal

Anniversary of the day  – all the anniversaries of the day appear on the Untold Arsenal home page

19 August 1904: Woolwich Gazette reports Archibald Leitch was engaged in work on Manor Ground building refreshment bars utilising the back of the Abbey Wood End slope.  It was probably the first job for the man who went on to design Highbury, since the disaster at Ibrox, with which he was also involved, but found not culpable. 


31 comments to Watch Zelalem’s wonder goal; Jack is back; Telegraph turns on PGMO, fans turn on TV pundits

  • Bolton have signed Wellington on loan

  • Mandy Dodd

    Let’s see who gets the decisions from pawson and co in the Newcastle vs utd game, I have a hunch. As for VT, unfortunately IFAB apparently recently put it back about three years, wonder why. These refs may be just making mistakes but as you say they significantly favour certain teams, quite often those based in the northwest

  • Al

    So Craig pawson gets rewarded with another huge fixture for getting it horribly wrong at Liverpool, while mason gets dropped for the unforgivable sin of not sending Coq off. What message is the pgmob sending to its representatives?

  • Rich

    Can someone help me out with this one : what were Tiote’s goal at newcastle last year or Stoke’s nearly fourth against us disallowed for?

    I thought it was because someone in an offside position had been in the goalkeeper’s eyeline, and that was judged interfering with play.
    As such, I was a bit confused when I heard about the new rule, because I thought it already existed.

    If it did, it makes Monday’s farce even more ridiculous

    Blocking the view of a shot, or actually coming within inches of touching the ball and, as a result, forcing the keeper to come to you and position himself for you getting a touch…hmm, one of them is easier to get right, almost impossible to get wrong, with old or new rules.

    Basically, is that a goal which should have stood last year? Surely not.

  • nicky

    I find it difficult to equate these youngsters being taught to play “the Arsenal way” and then being sent out on loan to get “first team experience”.
    And no doubt to be taught all the bad habits of the club to which they are loaned.
    The declining standard of PGMO refereeing has again arisen…disturbingly early in the season. With the modern ease of travel, one wonders whether an overall pool of selected officials from UEFA (including the UK of course) might be the answer. Operating throughout the EU each week. 😉

  • ob1977

    Did I hear Owen say that Carricks 20 yard pass to Depay (which was neck high) for his first goal was pass of the season…

  • Pat

    Thanks for moving the league table, Tony.

  • TailGunner

    I didn’t see Tiote’s goal, but assume that he must have made an attempt tp play the ball while offside, which is what the new rule is all about.
    I agree though that previous interpretations would have you believe that it was already in force. i.e. our match two seasons ago against Man City: while we were were losing 5-3 Giroud (or Bendtner ) scored a great goal which was ruled offside because Ozil ( in an offside position ) was deemed interfering with play ( even though he wasn’t). We had another (Theo I think) also wrongly ruled out and a fake penalty awarded against us for Milner’s dive. Should have been 5-5

  • TailGunner

    Michael Owen regularly features in Private Eye’s Comentatorballs, which is indeed an accolade.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin.

    The PGMO not taking any disciplinary action on Graig Pawson is, pathetic! I should think what they say is good for the goose should as well be fine for the gander to receive. The Pgmo saw the reason to relegated Lee Mason to the 4th match official rank for his not booking Francis Coquelin twice in the match between Crystal Palace and Arsenal at Selhurst Park, last Sunday. But they have deliberately refused to meet the same treatment to Graig Pawson, who disallowed the Cherries’ goal tourted to be a correct goal, but awarded the Reds alleged off-side goal. The Pgmo’s excuse for their referees going through the learning process of the new application of the off-side rule, is a ploy to continue in their hidden agenda of match-fixing racket business. Otherwise, why wouldn’t the Pgmo say yes, to the video playback facility on the off-side controversy that will obviously aid their Refs to judge correctly on the off-side cases as they arisen.

  • TailGunner

    Commentatorballs. Spelling a bit off today.

  • TailGunner

    Being named as 4th official isn’t a relegation ( even though The Mail says it is ), but what you might consider a slap on the wrist is that he ( Mason ) is to referee Birmingham v Hull in the Championship on Friday before he does 4th duties at Leicester for the game against Spurs.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin.

    The PGMO not taking any disciplinary action on Craig Pawson, is pathetic! I should think what they say is good for the goose should as well be fine for the gander to receive. The Pgmo saw the reason to relegate Lee Mason to the 4th match official rank, for his not booking Francis Coquelin twice in the match between Crystal Palace and Arsenal at Selhurst Park last Sunday. But they have deliberately refused to meet the same treatment to Craig Pawson, who disallowed the Cherries’ goal tourted to be a correct goal, but awarded the Reds alleged off-side goal. The Pgmo’s excuse for their referees going through the learning process of the application of new the off-side rule, is a ploy to continue in their hidden agenda of match-fixing racket business. Otherwise, why wouldn’t the Pgmo say yes, to the video playback facility on the off-side controversy that will obviously aids their Refs to judge correctly on the off-side cases as they arisen. It is worth to note that, the Pgmo want the Reds to be on 6 points parity with the Gunners after the Emirates Stadium game is played when the Gunners would have beaten the Reds to the 3 points at stake. Hence the advance award of the 3 points to the Reds this last Monday.

  • Rich

    Tailgunner, here’s that Tiote one. Glorious strike

    Even more confused now after looking at it again and hearing the intro, which describes the old rules, as to what change the new rule is even meant to have brought.

    Also think it shows that the instinct of officials is to look for something wrong- i.e. they’ll give themselves time and consult, as they do here- when something is against certain sides, while when it goes for certain sides they don’t do this and instead want to rush the decisions through. Dodgy as f***

  • Mick

    Did anyone see the ref in last nights Man U game put his whistle to his mouth to blow for full time only to quickly remove it when he realized the Man U player Depay was about to cross the ball into the Bruge penalty area to give Man U one last chance to add to their slender lead. They duly scored the 3rd probably decisive goal thanks to the refs generosity. Was the ref acting under orders? I would guess so, it certainly appeared so. UEFA can’t risk little Bruge going through at the expense if mighty United, wouldn’t be good for the financial gravy train which is the Champions League.

  • Mick

    should be ‘of mighty United’.

  • TailGunner

    I didn’t see the game but referees usually wait for a play to complete before blowing for time, so perhaps that was what he saw there. If he had have blown (when you saw the whistle in his mouth) it might have been suggested that he was denying an attacking opportunity.

  • TailGunner

    Thanks for that.
    I see what you mean, good strike and neither of the “offside” players were obstructing Hart.
    Wrong section!

  • TailGunner

    Wrong decision!

  • Ray from Norfolk, Virginia

    I thought it was Song, with another West Ham player interfering just in front of the goalkeeper a few yards from goal. The new rule is more far-encompassing, with any interference now resulting in goals being disallowed. On the Benteke goal, it is Coutinho who comes in offside and misses the ball, the Bournemouth goalkeeper hesitates at that split second, and Benteke, who was not offside, pounces. The goal would have stood in the 2014-2015 Prem, but the new rules should have made this goal disallowed, because Coutinho interfered. I used to watch a lot of top French flight football, and this was called “hors-jeu de position” without further ado. I wished Walter could help with this one.

  • apo Armani

    Excellent article Tony!!

    Yes at Arsenal we are doing a mighty fine job with the youngsters, and now we can say there is definite prospect of players to come through into the first team in the seasons to come!!

    On the point of the Media: They are a disgrace!!!

    Whereas the PGMOB; I have a very strong feeling that this season will mark a new err a where they play as the 21st team on the PL and will gain the majority of points which they divide equally amongst their AGENDA teams (we all know who they are) – unfortunately for us, we are not one of them!!

  • finsbury

    “What message is the (RICO) PGMOB sending to its representatives?”

    Have they let Clattenburg out of solitary confinement following the cardinal sin of making a mistake against the evil cheating (I wasn’t the one diving all over the shop yesterday evening, even the keeper was at it!) Mancs – Vardy’s pelanty last season?

  • Pete

    Were this week’s officials announced prior to the Liverpool v Bournemouth game? If so, they can’t really discipline Pawson before the incident actually happened….!

  • Rich


    I think they’re savvy enough to wait until all the previous rounds fixtures are complete. That would allow them to demote someone who would otherwise have reffed a game without it having to be official.

  • Gord


    The referee appointments come out Tuesday (normally).

  • Gf60

    I know that officials act as a team and should be judged as such. But I can’t help feeling that a ref supporting his lineman’s decision is not his fault. A bit like a medical officer obeying a ref’s call only to get castigated by his/her manager who palpably was trying to cheat. Thoughts?

  • goonersince72

    The Telegraph pendulum will swing back in favor of the PGMO any time now. They are completely gutless. Don’t give them any credit for a one off position.

  • Rich


    That only works for me, in this case, if the ref had a truly awful view- i.e he couldn’t even see Coutinho or at least not enough to tell he was offside or even might just be.

    In that scenario, it was absolutely all on the linesman. If the ref had any kind of useful view whatsoever, then there’d be no excuse for not asking the linesman to double check.

    He obviously didn’t ask him anything-otherwise there would have been a slight delay instead of giving the goal instantly- but if he had, if he’d even said ‘are you sure?’, then the linesman’s woeful error moves into diabolical territory.

    A good guide is in the link to the disallowed Tiote goal from earlier in the comments section.

    The linesman saw nothing wrong, but the ref, if we’re to take him as honest, saw someone in an offside position and was inclined to believe he had obstructed Hart’s view. So he said something immediately to the linesman, who reaches for his earpiece at that point, then goes over to speak to him in person. Presumably the ref just asked ‘ was x standing in an offside position?’, when the linesman confirmed he was, the ref then combined that with his own initial view, that the guy had obstructed Hart, and disallowed the goal.

    So the process in that one was more or less correct, and the decision was wrong, while in the liverpool one the process which could have saved a rotten decision didn’t take place.

    Either Pawson had some view and both he and the linesman are to blame, or only the linesman did and he alone, with a perfect view, got it badly wrong.

  • Jambug


    August 19, 2015 at 10:21 am

    “Did I hear Owen say that Carricks 20 yard pass to Depay (which was neck high) for his first goal was pass of the season…”

    Yes, you heard correctly.

    Made me choke on my cocoa. Not even in the top 100 passes of the season let alone the best. The mans a joke, as was the commentator, who sounded suspiciously on the verge of orgasm every time United went forward, especially if ROOOOOOOOOONEEEEEEEEEEEY was involved. Conversely, he sounded close to tears when Brugge scored.

    As I said last night, it could of get very messy in the commentary box if Rooney had actually scored.

    The pair of them took both ‘incompetence’ and ‘arse licking’ to new depths (if that’s not too disgusting to even contemplate).

  • omgarsenal

    Rich & GF60……….the referee rarely if ever makes the offside call but he or she does give offside, if his or her assistant indicates an offside by raising their flag vertically and then pointing to the spot where the offside occurred. A referee usually is not well positioned to make an offside call….thus an assistant (or linesman in the old terminology) who is with the second to last defender at all times.

  • @Swales1968

    Am I the only person who with the new amendments to the offside rule thinks that mufc’s first goal the other night was offside. Watch Mata (I think) and where he is standing/running when Menphis takes his shot, wouldn’t that have distracted the goalkeeper?